Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Exams

The RAD’s examinations are part of an internationally acknowledged system of rigorous assessments, drawing on the research and academic practices of twenty awarding organisations. These organisations promote progressive mastery in music, dance, drama and musical theatre.

We offer a wide range of exams and assessments to motivate and reward students of all ages and abilities. Our focus is on creativity and musicality, with RAD graded system providing opportunities to progress and achieve. All candidates who pass an exam receive a certificate of achievement and a breakdown of their result. Some grades also offer medals.

How does it work?

Starting with Pre-school, students move through our Pre-Primary and Primary levels before moving on to graded and vocational graded levels.

* Graded syllabus: Grades 1 to 8 incorporates ballet, free movement, and character, and is suitable for candidates from seven years (Grades 1–5) and eleven years (Grades 6–8).

* Vocational Graded Syllabus: This develops the technique, music and performance skills of the older ballet student to an advanced level, preparing them for a dance or dance-related career.

Graded and vocational graded exams lead to recognised achievement at a high level in dance. These higher levels are accepted as a measure of achievement by vocational schools attended by young people aiming to dance professionally. They are also highly valued by universities and other HE institutions offering degree courses and programmes in the performing arts.

Other Rewards

A well as exams we also offer:

* Class Awards – available from Pre-Primary in Dance to Grade 5: These are conducted by the teacher and assessment is less detailed than for exams, allowing candidates to demonstrate their progress and to receive feedback.

* Solo Performance Awards are available at Grades 1–5: Candidates perform three solo dances; (one of which is freestyle and can be in any dance genre, not specifically ballet) giving them a chance to perform and express themselves whilst benchmarking their development.

All exams and awards are assessed externally by a panel of 200 examiners, appointed, trained and monitored by the RAD, and based in 25 countries around the world.

Non-assessed classes

Demonstration Classes are an optional part of the Pre-School Curriculum, and Presentation Classes are available from Grade 6 to Grade 8. Neither are assessed but all candidates receive a certificate of participation.

A quick guide to exams, awards, content, assessment and venues:

Type of award

What?

Assessed?

Where?

Demonstration

Classes (Pre-

School)

Free content, led by

teacher

No, the Examiner only

observes

AEC or RAV

Solo Performance

Award (Grade 1-

5)

3 solo dances,

at least 2 from exam

syllabus

Yes, as per

Specification criteria

AEC or

RAV

Class Awards

(Grade 1-5)

Class Award

syllabus (a selection

of exercises and one

dance), led by the

teacher

Yes, a broad indication of

standard rather than a detailed

breakdown

AEC or

RAV

Presentation

Class

(Grade 6-7)

Selection of

exercises from the

syllabus, led by the

teacher

No, the Examiner only

observes

AEC or

RAV

Presentation

Class (Grade 8)

Selection of

exercises from the

syllabus, led by the

Examiner

No, the Examiner only

conducts the class

AEC or

RAV

Exams

(Graded and

Vocational)

Candidates perform

the exam syllabus

Yes, as per

Specification criteria

AEC or

RAV

Solo Seal

Candidates perform

three Variations for

Yes, by a panel of judges, an

RAD Examiner and a dance

RAV or

theatre

venue

a panel of judges

and an audience

professional approved by the

artistic director

AEC – Approved Examination Centre, normally the teacher’s own studio.

RAV – RAD Approved Venue, premises provided by the RAD.

Details about Pre-School, Graded Syllabus and Vocational Graded exams.

* Pre-School (Demonstration Class): is the curriculum for children from 2½ to 5 years.

* The Graded syllabus (Pre-Primary in Dance, Primary in Dance and Grade 1–8) provides a broad practical dance education and develops technical, musical and performance skills (age 5+).

* Vocational Graded Examinations (Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced Foundation, Advanced 1, Advanced 2) provide an in-depth study of ballet and prepare students for a career in dance (age 11+).

* Graded and Vocational Graded Examinations can be taken at the same time.